Emily Carr: Theatre of Transcendence

Emily Carr, Untitled 1938–9 (courtesy Vancouver Art Gallery / photo Trevor Mills
Emily Carr, Untitled 1938–9 (courtesy Vancouver Art Gallery / photo Trevor Mills)

Robin Laurence reviews the exhibition Emily Carr and the Theatre of Transcendence at the Vancouver Art Gallery, on view through September 3, 2012.

Laurence writes that the show "examines how Carr, her contemporaries and present-day practitioners have all expressed an aspiration towards transcendence, towards a state or experience beyond the ordinary." Laurence continues noting that Carr "was a deeply yet idiosyncratically spiritual person, steeped in a very personal Christianity and opposed to what she saw as the false pieties and oppressive constraints of organized religion. For her, God resided not in 'stuffy' churches but in the soaring cathedral of the British Columbia rainforest, in the sepulchral shade of its densest recesses and in the spectral light of its clearings... It symbolized and in a sense consolidated the state of mystical connection she experienced while immersed in the natural world."